Ben Stein wrote a nice article in today's New York Times. He sets the stage by saying that he's flying first class from a movie shoot, and then he writes a quite loving reminisce about how he owes his entire success to his parents and, more broadly, to the professional "connections" that his parents helped him make.
Ben's got one of those non-linear lives. An economist by schooling, a lawyer by trade, he quickly gained traction as a writer. Parlaying his connections as a speechwriter for the Nixon administration, he ultimately landed a role in that cultural touchstone of a movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. (Ben's famous line is him calling "Bueller?... Bueller?...". You'll know it when you see it.)
In this article, Ben says: "I write mostly about investments, and they are important. But for most people everywhere, their livelihood comes primarily from working. Their success depends largely on a combination of education, ability, work habits and connections. If you are like me and a great many other people who fly first class, you started out with some connections and made the most of them, or at least made something of them."
I was thinking about connections today, because a work colleague reached out with a "friend" request to my MySpace account. I was thrilled! As Ben says, success comes from having connections, and making the most of them.
Ben Stein's article ends with a call action. Learning about "jobbing", and making connections, is not at all obvious. He suggests forming some kind of link between helpful adults and kids to help foster this knowledge. He suggests that this would be one way to close the gap of financial inequality in this country. From one connection, you too can be flying first class, or at least be on your way.